Learning Management-System

Expert Insights: The Best eLearning Authoring Tools for Building an Online Course

8 min read | May 2, 2024
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In today's rapidly evolving workplace landscape, continuous learning and development are crucial for organizations seeking to stay competitive. With remote work and distributed teams more common than ever before, the demand for effective online training solutions has never been higher. While creating a compelling online course can seem intimidating, choosing the right eLearning authoring tool makes things much easier.

At its core, a good authoring tool streamlines the creation and delivery of online courses, catering to the diverse needs of modern businesses by empowering them to offer engaging and interactive online education.

As eLearning becomes increasingly vital in professional and academic settings, these digital toolkits shape the future of teaching and learning. From seasoned educators to budding course creators, everyone needs tools that are powerful yet accessible to craft immersive and adaptive learning experiences.

Keep reading to explore expert insights on the best eLearning authoring tools available today, and how the features of each are uniquely tailored to building online courses tailored for employee training and education.

Trainably: A Comprehensive Review

A sister product of the Academy of Mine learning management system (LMS), Trainably was conceived as a comprehensive eLearning authoring tool tailored to meet the demands of corporate teams, instructional designers, and educators passionate about creating impactful microlearning experiences. As a platform, Trainably provides vital on-the-job support with features that cover everything from spaced practice and short tutorials to job aids. It's designed to facilitate the learning process by making it convenient for users to access training tools whenever needed.

Features and Benefits of Trainably

One intriguing feature that sets Trainably apart is its gamification. By injecting elements of play into training modules, Trainably cultivates learner buy-in through interactivity, leading to improved engagement and a broader expansion of skills. These features also pay off down the line as they contribute to better retention rates—an important aspect to consider when evaluating the efficacy of any eLearning authoring tool.

Gamification pairs particularly well with Trainably's mobile-first design. This approach is well-suited for today's learners, giving them access to purposefully formatted courses and materials at any point throughout their day while encouraging them to complete training at their own pace and place to maximize their comfortability.

Trainably's comprehensive and robust tools make it an ideal solution not only for training new employees but also for providing continuous education and support for existing staff. The platform's intuitive interface simplifies the creation of training materials, regardless of their nature. Elaborate courses and bite-sized tutorials for microlearning can both be created and delivered easily.

Another trait that sets Trainably apart is its dedication to customer support. Quick responses to questions—and frequent follow-through by the platform's developers to update features to best suit users' needs based on feedback—allow users to focus on creating engaging and educational content without getting caught up in technical issues.

How Trainably Stands Out from Other Authoring Tools

In the competitive realm of eLearning authoring tools, Trainably manages to carve out its space through several distinctive features. Its interface customization capabilities allow for a more personalized experience, making content creation not just efficient but also enjoyable and aligned with a company's overall branding.

Trainably's design also makes collaboration a focal point, encouraging teamwork and enabling multiple users to co-create and manage content seamlessly. This is particularly beneficial for larger organizations or educational institutions where cooperative development is common.

Diverse pre-built templates in Trainably also cater to the varying skill levels of designers and content creators, from novices to seasoned professionals, enabling anyone to contribute. Trainably also offers a built-in organizational system to enhance and simply content management.

Device compatibility is another pillar of Trainably's design. Understanding the modern need for multi-platform access, it ensures learners can have a consistent experience across desktop and mobile devices, without requiring deep technical knowledge from the creator's end.

Trainably's user-friendly interface, quick customer support responses, and commitment to improve mean the platform undergoes frequent updates to enhance the content creation and learning process—evolving alongside the needs of its users and learners.

Pricing Options for Trainably

Another appealing aspect of Trainably is its flexibility in pricing, offering both a free trial for those testing the waters, and various paid tiers starting at $29 per month for more advanced features. Plans can be tailored to the needs of individuals or small teams just starting with course creation just as easily as they can fit larger team and enterprise needs. By progressively scaling offering and pricing, Trainably accommodates a larger number of users and learners without sacrificing right-size fit.

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Articulate Rise 360

Articulate Rise has carved out a significant niche within the eLearning industry, thanks to its suite of interactive elements. With an ability to enable the creation of customized interactions, this authoring tool allows users to include their own branding options. Storyline 360's user-friendly interface is a major draw for those who are newer to design, giving freelancers, academics, and businesses across various industries the ability to take advantage of a platform that appeals to all skill levels.

Articulate Rise 360 relies on the familiar functionalities of PowerPoint, allowing a smooth transition for those who are used to Microsoft's presentation software. It also includes a feature to export content directly, which helps when localizing and translating content, although it is worth noting that text alignment may need adjustment when incorporating new languages.

Reliability is another hallmark of Articulate Rise 360. It consistently delivers on promised features and functionality, giving it a good reputation among instructional designers and content creators.

Using Articulate Rise's Templates

Despite Articulate Rise's scarcity of built-in interaction templates, users can access an expansive Content Library 360 that contains free-to-use templates and assets to accelerate the course creation process. These pre-designed resources serve as a starting point for developers, providing a selection of course templates, backgrounds, characters, buttons, and icons ready to be customized. When subscribing to Articulate 360, users also receive additional tools, including Rise and Review applications, to further their course development capabilities.

How Articulate Rise Enhances User Interaction

Empowerment is a key theme when it comes to Articulate Rise 360, and nowhere is this more evident than in its Slide Masters feature. This allows for the creation of various layouts, bringing a consistent brand identity to large-scale projects and giving creators considerable flexibility and control to produce a range of interactive content—from system training modules to games and personalized learning experiences.

To add to the experience, the tool has an active online user base that offers community support and advice. The authoring interface is also available in nine different languages, making the tool more accessible on a global scale.

Lectora Online

Lectora Online's responsive course design provides good user experiences regardless of the device used. Tailoring content for mobile consumption is made simple with mobile-friendly themes and style packs, and authors can easily build courses that look good and perform well on smartphones, tablets, and desktops alike.

To enhance engagement, Lectora Online equips authors interactive wireframe templates, which serve as a blueprint for dynamic user interaction across different screen dimensions. These templates give course builders the opportunity to deploy interactive elements. Furthermore, Lectora supports creating personalized branching scenarios to tailor the learning experience specifically to its users.

Exporting is efficient as Lectora Online natively supports SCORM, xAPI, AICC, and HTML5 formats. This array of format compatibilities enables greater accessibility, ensuring that training materials maintain functionality and design integrity across various screens and platforms.

Customizing Online Courses with Lectora Online

Diving into course creation with Lectora Online, users will find integrated navigation systems, interactive samples, and a variety of page layouts to help streamline the authoring process.

For those who need a higher degree of course personalization, Lectora Online also offers scripts, custom libraries, fonts, and CSS integration options so authors can add unique branding and aesthetic nuances.

Users also report enjoying Lectora's global content management system, which allows centralized updating of assets, making it simpler to manage course materials. When working as part of a team, Lectora's built-in version control facilitates seamless collaboration, as well, ensuring every team member is aligned with the latest course iteration.

Overcoming the Steep Learning Curve of Lectora Online

Lectora Online can be a potent eLearning instrument given its advanced feature set. However, becoming fully proficient may be challenging. To truly harness Lectora's potential, users must commit to exploring its capabilities in full. While veteran users can easily construct immensely tailored and sophisticated online courses, newcomers must understand that the platform's features are not always as user-friendly as those included in other authoring tools.

Despite the challenge of its learning curve, Lectora Online is a favorite among adept creators who take the time to master the platform, which is a testament to the tool's robust capabilities in the creation of online courses.


Elucidat is a cloud-based authoring tool designed to streamline the production of high-quality eLearning content. Geared towards simplicity and speed, one of Elucidat's standout features is the ability to either use pre-built blueprints that address a variety of learning outcomes or construct courses from the ground up using a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface. This flexible approach ensures that whether you're a novice or experienced course designer, you can jump right into content creation without the need for extensive training.

Responsive design automatically adjusts Elucidat's content to fit all screen sizes—a feature that reflects today's necessity for mobile learning. The tool's also offers a wide range of templates, themes, and interactions to elevate learner engagement. From interactive videos to scenario-based learning, creators can incorporate various interactive elements that enrich the learning journey and help maintain user attention.

Elucidat also provides analytics and reporting features that allow authors to track, measure, and analyze the effectiveness of their courses, giving creators the opportunity to make data-driven decisions for course improvements.

Exploring Elucidat's Interface

When it comes to user interface design, Elucidat is both intuitive and robust, offering a cloud-based platform that makes eLearning content creation and management a smooth experience. Design tools such as pre-built templates and a custom theme builder accelerate the creation process while ensuring a professional look. As a result, even those with minimal design experience can produce visually appealing courses that resonate with learners.

Elucidat's integrated teamwork features mean multiple authors can co-author in real-time, streamlining the course development process and encouraging a collaborative approach to design. This not only enhances productivity but also leads to a more cohesive final product.

How Elucidat Integrates with Learning Management Systems

Elucidat's compatibility with various LMS platforms is a strong suit, with SCORM compliance at its core. This ensures that courses created in Elucidat can be effortlessly integrated into virtually any LMS, making content delivery and tracking sophisticated yet simple.

A pivotal feature of Elucidat's LMS integration includes course cloning. This functionality simplifies the creation of course variations, providing a streamlined method for localizing content and customizing courses for different groups or regions.

One of the keys to managing eLearning content effectively within an LMS is the ability to control versions meticulously. Elucidat solves this conundrum with its master course feature, enabling centralized updates that are applied to every instance of the course within the LMS. Through this, content creators can ensure uniformity and up-to-date material throughout their training programs, regardless of scale.

Finding the Right Authoring Tool for Your Organization

Selecting the right authoring tool is crucial for building effective online courses tailored to employee training and education. By considering factors such as ease of use, content creation capabilities, interactivity, integration, scalability, and support services, organizations can choose a platform that aligns with their training objectives and enhances the learning experience for employees. Whether you're a small business seeking a user-friendly solution or a large enterprise with complex training requirements, the diverse range of authoring tools available today offers ample opportunities to elevate your training initiatives and drive organizational success in the digital age.

Contact Trainably to request a free trial and start leveraging a best-in-class authoring tool to support your learners today.

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